Hepatotoxicity with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors in non-small-cell lung cancer patients: A network meta-analysis

Lung Cancer

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2020 Oct 8. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.13281. Online ahead of print.


WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE: The efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in patients diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has been confirmed by a large number of studies. However, hepatotoxicity caused by EGFR-TKIs has not been widely investigated. This review compares the hepatotoxicity of different EGFR-TKIs through a network meta-analysis.

METHODS: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library and ClinicalTrials.gov were systematically searched from their individual inceptions to 20 May 2020 with the goal of identifying randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting hepatotoxicity in NSCLC patients receiving EGFR-TKIs. A random-effects pairwise meta-analysis and network meta-analysis were performed within a frequentist framework. Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

RESULTS: Twelve eligible RCTs, including data from 6,280 patients diagnosed with NSCLC, were analysed. In our network meta-analysis, gefitinib was associated with a higher risk for hepatotoxicity compared to placebo (RR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.32-4.89) and dacomitinib (RR, 2.60; 95% CI, 1.30-5.20) in terms of all-grades alanine transaminase (ALT) elevation. As for all-grades aspartate transaminase (AST) elevation, gefitinib and erlotinib showed a significantly increased risk for hepatotoxicity compared to afatinib, dacomitinib and placebo (erlotinib vs. afatinib: RR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.05-3.24; erlotinib vs. dacomitinib: RR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.19-2.36; erlotinib vs. placebo: RR, 3.38; 95% CI, 1.69-6.73; gefitinib vs. afatinib: RR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.32-3.79; gefitinib vs. dacomitinib: RR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.51-2.73; gefitinib vs. placebo: RR, 4.08; 95% CI, 2.11-7.91). There was a high risk of high-grade ALT elevation in patients treated with gefitinib compared to patients treated with erlotinib (RR, 4.31; 95% CI, 2.15-8.66), dacomitinib (RR, 6.95; 95% CI, 1.85-26.05) or placebo (RR, 8.38; 95% CI, 1.56-45.01). No statistically significant differences were identified among the five agents analysed in terms of all-grades TB elevation and high-grade AST elevation. The surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) revealed that gefitinib showed a potentially higher risk for ALT and AST elevation compared to other EGFR-TKIs regardless of grade.

WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSION: Current evidence indicates that the association between afatinib or dacomitinib and risk of liver enzyme elevation remains uncertain in patients diagnosed with NSCLC. Some evidence suggests that gefitinib and erlotinib may be associated with a significantly increased risk for hepatotoxicity in patients with NSCLC. However, given that the elevation of liver enzymes was not definitely associated with EGFR-TKIs and publication bias, further studies are required to confirm these results.